Driving a well, needing some advice

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by TnR, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. TnR

    TnR New Member

    Belfast, NY
    I've some questions regarding a Driven Well. I have used the search function, and i am either using the wrong key words, or using the wrong terminology. So i apologize if this is buried somewhere in the wealth of information on this site.

    We have property in Upstate NY, Allegheny mountain region, and it is rather far back in the woods. We have a small cabin that we are converting to a livable dwelling until we can break-ground building a new house. The two sights are too far apart to justify running a pipe between them for water.

    So after alot of research, and time spent on this site, we decide to try the route of a driven well, and hence my reasons(questions) for posting. I apologize ahead of time if there is too much info here, or already covered elsewhere.

    This past weekend i attempted to Drive a Wellpoint for the first time. We used a 1 1/4" wellpoint from Tractor supply, 5' sections of pipe with HD couplings sealed with pipe dope.
    A fence post driver weighing about 25lbs was used for pounding on the sacrificial pipe and drive cap.

    My questions / concerns are:
    During the first 19' we pushed through clay, took all day. During this time i would stop every so often and put water into the pipe to see if it drained, it didn't.
    While i had the pitcher pump on the pipe i couldn't pull the water even inside the pipe.
    The suction would keep the handle in the raised position, I'm hoping this means my joints were tightly sealed?

    At 20'ish, i added water to the pipe again, and it slowly slowly started to drain. I put the pump back on and was able to pull something up. At this point, the pipe was going down much faster. An inch or two every dozen pounds, vs the fraction of an inch the first 19' of clay. Is water bearing soil generally easier to push through?

    I drove for another couple feet, putting me at a depth of 23.5'. I again added water, and this time it drained quicker. I filled the pipe, and walked away for a few minutes, when coming back i couldn't see any water in the pipe at all.

    With the pump back on i was able to pull slightly more water up. Roughly 15 to 20 pumps produced enough to fill a solo cup (its not red).

    I could fill and dump the cup several times without pause and not seem to loose any volume from the well. This leads me to believe that the pipe is an area, or is entering an area that has a decent recovery, yes?

    The very small amount of water i am pulling up looks alot like a cup of coffee with to much creamer in it, not quite white, but a very milky brown. We pumped on it for about 30 mins, let it sit an hour, and pumped on it again for about 30 mins, still the same color.

    Does this mean i am getting somewhere, and another 5' would be needed? Or more?
    Since i pushed through so much clay, is the pipe full of clay?

    Why would the pitcher pump take more muscle to pump, is it the clay, or the fact i am not quite into the water bearing soil? Shouldn't it move pretty easily?

    Does the clay above the water have a negative impact on the quality of water, causing the cloudiness? Or is it common to have a water bearing area under clay?

    Any thoughts on whether i am getting into trouble or getting in to the good stuff would make my weary shoulders feel better. For now the cost of having the well professionally put in, and then trenching it over to our temporary dwelling is just way to high.
  2. masterpumpman

    masterpumpman New Member

    Virginia Beach, VA
    I don't know that area but shallow water may be hard to locate in your area? Hard pumping on the pitcher pump usually means that 1) you haven't reached water; 2) the well point is plugged with clay. When the 1-1/4" pipe takes water fast it usually indicates you have reached a sufficient amount of water (meaning 3 to 4 gpm). That's about all that you can pump with a pitcher pump! Unless a reasonable amount of water is reached and it rises to 30 or less feet from the top of the pump when the well is at rest you won't be able to pump it with a pitcher pump.
  3. TnR

    TnR New Member

    Belfast, NY
    I appreciate the feedback. I understand the limitations on the pitcher pump, and am hoping that it rises to within reach so i can at least condition the well, and test for water. The wells in the area all seem to have a static water table within reach of the pump.

    I was hoping that since i am at least starting to see some water, as dirty as it is, and the fact water drains in the pipe fairly quickly that it meant i was getting to the water bearing soil, and it made sense to drive another 5 or 10 feet. Or, it means i have to pull it up, inspect to clean out clay and try elsewhere.

    If i have to pull it up, would it only refill with clay if put down through the same hole, or should it bypass alot of the clay the second time around?

    The fact we hit at least some water was encouraging to the worn out arms, shoulders...lol
  4. JPat

    JPat New Member

    Johnsburg, Il
    My expertise is in N. Illinois and all areas are different, but here goes anyway...
    There is no water in clay, but clay is a good barrier to keep contaminants out of the ground water. There should not be enough clay in the point to clog it, as it probably has a larger tip on it then the rest of the screen.
    Most brownish water that you describe above is comming from sand, hopefully, you may be just on top of the shallow aquifer.
    The pitcher pump will pump hard if you have a limited supply of water or no water in the case of the clay.
    Your only option is to continue driving the point down and test for water every three feet.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    NW Ontario, Canada
    I think you should start developing the well and whatever clay may have gotten through the sand point will get washed out. It may take a few days of hard pumping to get it to run clear.

    Hopefully the static level will be high enough for a shallow well pump to lift from because 1 - 1/4" casing might be too small for a packer install.
  6. traveller

    traveller Member

    British Columbia
    If you are gaining an inch or two each hit I think you are in gravel. Sand is notoriously hard to drive through, at least what I've encountered here, anyways.

    If you are in what is obviously a porous layer and you are able to pump water from it, you might want to hold off driving any further down for now, just in case the water bearing layer is thin and the only one down there. You can always drive a sandpoint down further later on if you have to.

    Where I live, I have never driven a sandpoint that produced water without conditioning. I get the guys from our volunteer fire dept. to bring the pumper truck to the wellsite (beer makes great bait), hook a line to the well through adaptors and pump a couple of hundred gallons of water into the aquifer at a lower RPM. This is kind of like low tech fraccing and it seems to loosen things up down at the point. I've seen sandpoint wells that would only produce grey sludge make clear water after being fracced this way.
  7. Rod M1

    Rod M1 New Member

    I believe you are getting there. Ideal you should should be getting several gallons of water per minute with your pitcher pump. It seems to be driving easy I would go another 5ft then see what kind of water you can pump. The more water the well will take the better it will produce. The first 50 gallons or sow will be muddy water then it should start to clear up.

    You have clay and I've found placing point just above the clay layer produces good water where I'm at.
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    NW Ontario, Canada
    This thread is two months old so I'm guessing the OP either gave up / is done or else he would have returned.

    Around here we prefer to look for water under the clay layer. Water above a clay layer is considered surface water and as such more suspect.
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